Roaccutane Cured My Acne: Case Study
Caroline Fox first got acne when she was about 13 or 14 years old. “I figured it would go by age 16 or 17 like it usually does and like my parents’ acne did, but it never seemed to disappear,” she recalls.
“lt came and went in different areas on my face, but I always seemed to have it. When I was younger it was on my forehead, and as I got older the acne spread to my cheeks and chin.”
Caroline, who’s now 23 and a PR executive from Camberwell in London, said that her acne wasn’t “terrible”, consisting usually of about nine or ten spots on her face at any given time.
Still, the spots took a noticeable toll on her self-esteem, and thus her behaviour. “It affected the way I felt about myself overall,” she says.
“It just kind of lowered my confidence a lot, and it made me not want to go out as much. And whenever I did go out, I would slap on a lot of make-up to try to cover up how I looked.”
Face Washes, Creams and AntibioticsCaroline tried all sorts of things to make the acne go away, from face washes to face creams to antibiotics. Then, about two years ago, she got a prescription for her GP for the drug Roaccutane for the first time.
“I was at uni when I started the Roaccutane, and the acne just went. But not long after it disappeared I went on the copper coil, a birth control device that messes with your hormones a little bit, and the acne came back.
“So I went on it again, just finishing the course last month. It completely got rid of the acne again.”
Roaccutane is a controversial drug that was first administered in 1979 to patients who suffered from severe acne. Also known as Accutane or Isotretinoin, it is a systemic medication that is a derivative of Vitamin A, and is now prescribed for mild or moderate acne as well.
While it works well to clear the skin, it also has unfortunate side effects, in some cases. Among those are hair loss, eczema, lip inflammation, hives, muscle pain, hearing impairment and depression.
Linked to Depression“I know that Roaccutane is a controversial medication, and that specifically it has been known to bring on depression and things like that,” says Caroline.
“I obviously didn’t want any of that, and while I was taking it I didn’t see much of that in myself. My friends, however, noticed the first time I was on it that I was a lot more mellow in a way, not depressed but mellow.
“I did not feel depressed at all when I was taking it. I am usually a quite excitable and enthusiastic person, and the only side effect I noticed after I went on the Roaccutane was that I was quite docile, as it were. I was quieter at parties, for example.
“When my friends pointed out the difference in me I guess I saw it a bit, but before they said anything I didn’t notice a change at all.”
Hearty RecommendationThe second time Caroline went on the drug she was much more stressed at work anyway, but she says that taking it “did not make much of a negative impact.”
Despite that experience, Caroline says she would recommend taking Roaccutane to other people. “I do think though, that it could be different when they offer it to teenagers and adolescents with bad acne, who are going through puberty as well, which is hard.
“There have been cases of suicide with the drug, so you need to be careful who you give it to. The kids affected are not just suffering from low self-esteem but loads of other things are going on in their lives as well, and teenagers generally have low self-esteem anyway.”
She adds that for her, Roaccutane couldn’t have been a better choice. “Now that the acne is gone I feel a lot better, so much better,” she says.
“Having clear skin has really boosted my confidence no end, and has made me a lot happier in myself.”